High-pressure Combustion Chamber Test Rig 3 (HBK3)

The High-pressure Combustion Chamber Test Rig 3 at the DLR Institute of Propulsion Technology in Cologne is used as a research platform for the validation of next-generation combustion chamber technologies that will be used in aeronautical applications and stationary gas turbines.

In its HBK3, the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) provides an economical test environment for single and multi-sector combustion chambers used in aviation, as well as for combustion systems for stationary gas turbines. In addition to conventional, state-of-the-art data acquisition systems, the Institute's laser-based measurement techniques are available for the analysis of combustion phenomena.

Test environment for the development of combustion chamber technologies

Air is supplied from a large, high-pressure reservoir in order to simulate the compressor in the real machine. This air is preheated either in a natural gas-fired air heater or with the extremely efficient electric air heaters (for lower mass flows) – which are integrated directly in the test rig – and then fed into the test assembly. The fuel required in each case is directed into the combustion chamber. The mass flow of exhaust gas is discharged through the exhaust stack. Kerosene, fuel oil, natural gas and synthetic, gaseous fuels are available as standard. In addition, the HBK3 infrastructure can be used to store and supply liquid special fuels.

This large-scale facility is designed for the validation of combustion chamber technology for the reduction of pollutants, under real operating conditions and at pressures of up to 40 bar (TRL 5).

In addition, the test rig is suitable for fundamental research in the following fields:

  • development of optical measurement technologies for use with glass combustion chambers (TRL 1)
  • use of materials in next-generation combustion chambers (TRL 3)
  • validation of emissions generation in combustion chambers for stationary gas turbines with substitution of standard fuels (TRL 3)
  • demonstration of sector combustion chambers with rich-lean module technology under real operating conditions at pressures of up to 40 bar (TRL 6)
  • service life predictions for materials exposed to cyclic loads under real operating conditions (TRL 2)


Volker Speelmann

Head of Research Infrastructures
German Aerospace Center (DLR)
Executive Board department for Innovation, Transfer and Research Infrastructure
Linder Höhe, 51147 Cologne

Dipl.-Ing. David Abbassian

German Aerospace Center (DLR)
Institute of Propulsion Technology
Combustor Test Department
Linder Höhe, 51147 Cologne